How I Became a Thief

First, I must apologize for my absence.  Many factors have contributed to my lack of updates – but the most important one is that I was the assistant director for a show that just opened.  As is often the case, the show eventually took over every spare moment I had, but since it’s opened I have free time again!

Now, if you have ever been involved in any kind of theatrical production before, you know that the week before opening is tech week.  Tech Week is really just code for ‘lots of stress’ and ‘really late nights’.   Costumes and lights and props and set changes are all being added in for the first time, which means the wonderful show you have been rehearsing completely falls apart and now we must put it back together.  Everyone is sleep deprived because rehearsals run longer, and it takes a room full of intelligent people 10 minutes to decide what door the actors should exit from to avoid being hit with the set pieces coming onstage for the next scene.

So let’s just get to the thief part of the story:

During tech, I was arriving to the theatre early AND staying late.  One day, the director asked me to run down the street and buy paper towels, snacks for the actors, and caffeinated beverages before everyone arrived.  I didn’t mind, sometimes assistant directors do shit like that.  She gave me her credit card so she could treat everyone to some pretzels.  I walked down to the convenient store, greeted the nice man who is always working, and made my purchase.  But I got so wrapped up in choosing the right chip flavor for snacks that I forgot the paper towels.  Later that evening while there was a very intense conversation happening about lights, I realized I had forgotten the paper products and  offered to run back down to the store.

Back at the store for round 2, I picked up the paper towels and two candies just for me. (Hershey’s Cookies and Cream and Reese’s Pieces, in case you wanted to know)   When I checked out, my debit card was declined.  This is literally one of my worst fears ever.  Even when I have PLENTY of money in the account, I get a twinge of anxiety when my card runs through the machine.    I realized the deposit I had made earlier in the day hadn’t gone through yet.

I informed the gentleman that I would not be buying anything and that I did not have another card.  Nothing feels worse than walking away from a counter of items you can’t afford.  How embarrassing!  I couldn’t afford paper towels and chocolate.  But I was also too embarrassed to go back to the theatre and tell everyone the reason I had no paper towels was because there was only $5.78 in my checking account.  What was I going to do?  I remembered that a friend of mine had just moved in across the street.  So what do I do?  I call him and ask to borrow ten dollars.   I was much more willing to let him know I was broke than the theater full of actors and designers.  And I could just pay him back the next day when my deposit went through.

Back at the store for round 3, the cashier giggled to himself as I grabbed my same items.  Paper towels, Hershey’s, and Reese’s.  He handed me the candy, “I know you want these in your purse.”  I smiled as I left the store.  While I was walking down the street I went to put the candy in my bag when I saw a Hershey’s and bag of Reese’s in purse already!!  When my card was declined, I didn’t realize that I had already put the candy in my bag.  II had been in such a hurry to get away from the shame of a declined card, I forgot to give the candy back.  Now I had two of each candy….but half of that was STOLEN!!  I was a shoplifter, a thief, practically a hardened criminal.

One half of the stolen goods.

One half of the stolen goods.

I had been in that same store three different times at this point.  I know the right thing to do was to just go back and return the unpaid for treats…but I didn’t.  I’m a coward.  But I felt so guilty!!  Guilt or embarrassment?  That’s a very tough choice to make…and I chose guilt.  To top it all off, I totally forgot about the Hershey’s bar until yesterday when I found it at the bottom of my purse.  (Yes, I am the kind of girl who loses track of candy and granola bars in my purse.)  The feeling of shame over what I had done came rushing back, so I ate the candy bar to comfort my guilty conscience.

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